So the latest page of Glorious Bounty Book Two: The Sticky Goat Affair went live this morning and you can check it out here. Read it? Good work! Now a couple of thoughts from my perspective...
We're actually flying by the seat of our pants a little bit here. The scripts are completed and Grug thumbnails the entire issue before drawing it, but in terms of the completed pages we're not at all ahead. Each page is finished just a day or two before it goes live on the site so if anything unexpected happens we're kind of screwed. This one was almost late due to a couple of minor glitches and the coloured version was only delivered to Grug last night.
When I receive the art for the new page Grug attaches it in a zip file and in the body of the email he pastes in the script breakdown for that page and which panels I should put the speech bubbles in. It's been a year since I completed the script and I have not read it since so reading the dialogue for the new page is very fresh for me, and I read it before I look at the page. On this occasion I read it and thought, "Oh... there's not a huge amount of dialogue on this page and nothing particularly funny to end it with... I hope this works out okay."
Upon seeing the art though these fears were alleviated, and for one main reason - we're back on the ship! You have no idea how nice it is, after 23 pages to be putting the characters in a new environment, as I hadn't considered, when I wrote it, how tied down they were to only two locations in the first half of the book. The change of environment and change of colour palate was very welcome and it was nice to be working the greens and purples back into the ship after dealing with the blues of the snowfield and the browns and oranges of the lodge.
When I saw the panoramic panels that Grug has drawn of the ship (and this is a part of it we haven't really seen before) I actually was glad there was little dialogue on this page. In fact I didn't want to cover up the establishing shots of the ship with extraneous speech bubbles and felt a little bad placing the few that I had to. Also nice to be using the proper colours for the main characters (instead of the blue filtered versions we've had) and seeing the hats come off them.
One other point of interest that continues on from the post about PK yesterday. Due to the close deadline of this page and some other committments on my part I did something very dodgy that I usually wouldn't do. I slightly altered a little bit of the art and then forgot to tell Grug that I had done it and to ask him about the reasoning behind it. This makes me a terrible and unprofessional person.
In the final panel where we see the backs of their heads Grug had drawn in two screws on the back of PK, which gave the impression that he was looking at us, even though he was turned around. My first thought was that this was an act of brilliance. As I said yesterday, the intention was always that he didn't have any sort of human features. They weren't eyes - they were just screws... we as a reader saw eyes only because we like to personify objects. So Grug's reasoning was that he would actually have a ring of screws around the top of his body (which could give the impression that he had eyes in the back of his head). It's a clever idea and it makes sense for the character. Grug also points out that the multiple screws can be seen a couple of times in Book One, which shows how observant I am.
So why did I change it?
I guess because when I saw it it stopped me in my tracks and I had to think about it. My thoughts ranged from thinking it was a clever idea to wondering if it was a genuine mistake. I had to stop to process it, and I was concerned that the reader might stop to process it too and then be momentarily removed from the story. And it's really only exacerbated in this issue because up until that point PK has been wearing a hat.
Which raises an interesting question about the ongoing evolution of the characters. Personally I am perfectly happy for their designs to continue to change and evolve between books. I'm happy for us to try out new costumes and to refine things as we go. Already you can see a marked change between the art of the two books so far and it's interesting to imagine where that will ultimately go. Some of it is motivated by the storytelling and some of it is motivated by laziness on my part. I can only colour Deevis' leopard print coat so many times before I'm tempted to ask Grug to find a way for it to go!